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Do Ethnic Dominoes Fall?: Evaluating Domino Effects of Granting Territorial Concessions to Separatist Groups
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Peace and Conflict Research.
2013 (English)In: International Studies Quarterly, ISSN 0020-8833, E-ISSN 1468-2478, Vol. 57, no 2, 329-340 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Forsberg, Erika. (2013) Evaluating Domino Effects of Granting Territorial Concessions to Separatist Groups. International Studies Quarterly, doi: 10.1111/isqu.12006 (c) 2013 International Studies Association There is a commonly expressed concern that granting territorial concessions to separatist groups may create domino effects. However, although this statement is largely undisputed within political rhetoric, no firm conclusions have been provided in previous research. The purpose of this study is to systematically examine whether the granting of territorial concessions to an ethnic group does indeed spur new separatist conflicts. I suggest that such domino effects may be generated by two processes. First, the accommodation of an ethnic group's separatist demands may trigger a general inspiration process among other groups within and across borders. Second, by acquiescing to separatist demands, a government signals that it may also yield to the demands of other groups it confronts, making it more likely that other groups choose to pursue secessionism. Statistical analysis of data on territorial concessions globally 1989-2004 provides no evidence of domino effects. This holds true both within and across borders.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 57, no 2, 329-340 p.
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-107577DOI: 10.1111/isqu.12006ISI: 000320561100008OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-107577DiVA: diva2:231810
Available from: 2009-08-18 Created: 2009-08-18 Last updated: 2013-07-22Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Neighbors at Risk: A Quantitative Study of Civil War Contagion
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Neighbors at Risk: A Quantitative Study of Civil War Contagion
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

While previous research shows that civil wars can spread to neighboring states, we do not know why certain neighbors are more at risk than others. To address this research gap, this dissertation proposes a contagion process approach that can identify the most likely targets of contagion effects from an ongoing conflict. Using data with global coverage, theoretical expectations about why and where civil wars would have contagion effects, are examined in a series of statistical analyses. Paper I argues and empirically supports that a country is more susceptible to contagion effects when it is characterized by ethnic polarization, where few ethnic groups form a delicate balance. Paper II argues and provides evidence that the involvement in conflict by an ethnic group in one country increases the likelihood of ethnic conflict erupting in a neighboring country that shares the same ethnic group. Paper III suggests and finds support that the arrival and long-term hosting of refugees from states in civil conflict make host states more likely to experience civil conflict. Paper IV examines the common notion that the granting of autonomy or independence to separatist groups may spur other ethnic groups to violently pursue similar demands, starting off a domino effect. Using new global data on such territorial concessions, the analysis does not support this version of the “domino theory,” which is popular among policy-makers. In sum, this dissertation contributes by demonstrating the usefulness of the contagion process approach. It offers a more comprehensive view of contagion among neighbors, and as such is able to specify arguments and intuitions in previous research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: , 2009. 42 p.
Report / Department of Peace and Conflict Research, ISSN 0566-8808 ; 85
conflict contagion, internationalization of conflict, civil war, ethnic conflict, transnational ethnic groups, ethnic polarization, refugee flows, domino effects
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Peace and Conflict Research
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-107081 (URN)978-91-506-2087-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2009-10-03, Auditorium Minus, Museum Gustavianum, Uppsala, 12:15 (English)
Available from: 2009-09-08 Created: 2009-07-15 Last updated: 2009-09-08Bibliographically approved

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